Skip to main content

MPP/MPM Specializations

In addition to a core set of courses that provides a foundation in governance, quantitative skills and the practice of public policy, the Master of Public Policy (MPP) and Master of Public Management (MPM) provide the opportunity to dive deeper into policy areas of interest through specializations. 

Pre-designed Specializations

The Environmental Policy specialization explores and examines policy approaches for environmental protection in different regulatory and development contexts. Taking an interdisciplinary approach that brings together science, economics, management and ethics, this specialization provides the theoretical foundation and methodological skills needed for analysis and policy making across the range of domestic and global environmental issues. 

Requirements

In addition to meeting the core requirements of their degree program, students specializing in Environmental Policy are required to take:

  • PLCY 740: Public Policy and the Environment
  • PLCY 741: Quantitative Aspects of Global Environmental Problems
  • PLCY 745: Human Health and the Environment
  • An environmental elective course:
    • PLCY 742: Environmental Ethics
    • PLCY 744: Environment and Development
    • PLCY 699Z: Energy Policy
    • PLCY 798N: Energy Economics
    • PLCY 784: Disease, Disasters, and Development
    • PLCY 798T; Sustainable Development
    • PLCY 699B: Intersections of Technology and Policy: Modernizing the Energy System (cross-listed as PHYS662)
    • PLCY 798T Environmental Policy, and Human Rights in Peru
    • PLCY 689I: Social-Ecological Systems, Environmental Policy, and Sustainable Development in Indonesia
    • AOSC 663: Water and Climate Systems
    • Any other environmental policy course approved by the specialization advisor

Sample Plan of Study

Semester 1
  • PLCY688E Normative and Political Dimensions (3 credits)
  • PLCY640 Microeconomics (3 credits)
  • PLCY610 Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 2
  • PLCY688G Leadership, Management and Accountability (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
Semester 3
  • PLCY699X Capstone Project, Part 1 (3 credits)
  • PLCY641 Macroeconomic (3 Credits)
  • PLCY670 Public Budgeting and Finance (3 Credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 4
  • PLCY790 Capstone Project, Part 2 (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)

 

Specialization Head

For more information, contact Lucy Qiu at yqiu16@umd.edu.

The Energy Policy specialization examines current and possible future energy systems and how they can interact with policy and society. Our goal is to understand four dimensions underpinning energy policy — as economic wellbeing, energy security, environmental protection and energy access.

We take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding these dimensions, including: the science and technology of energy; energy & society; innovation in energy technologies and the possible roles of government in supporting it; technological change and its implications for long-term energy futures; modeling and technology assessment; energy access for development and the goal sustainable energy for all; geopolitics of energy and other aspects of energy security; efficiency, renewables and transportation; Maryland state energy policy; and nuclear energy.

Requirements

  • One course on energy politics and policy (e.g. PLCY699Z Energy Policy)
  • One course on energy economics (e.g. PLCY798N Energy Economics)
Electives
  • Two energy-related courses, such as:
    • PLCY699B Intersections of Technology and Policy: Modernizing the Energy System (cross-listed as PHYS662)
    • PLCY740 Public Policy and the Environment
    • PLCY741 Quantitative Aspects of Global Environmental Problems
    • PLCY744 Environment and Development
    • PLCY745 Human Health and the Environment
    • PLCY798O Energy Security
    • PLCY689L Science and Technology Policy
    • Other courses approved by the Specialization Head

Sample Plan of Study

Semester 1
  • PLCY688E Normative and Political Dimensions (3 credits)
  • PLCY640 Microeconomics (3 credits)
  • PLCY610 Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 2
  • PLCY688G Leadership, Management and Accountability (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
Semester 3
  • PLCY699X Capstone Project, Part 1 (3 credits)
  • PLCY641 Macroeconomics (3 credits)
  • PLCY670 Public Budgeting and Finance (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 4
  • PLCY790 Capstone Project, Part 2 (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)

Requirements prior to Fall 2018

Students admitted to the Master of Public Policy or Master of Public Management program in or before Fall 2018 may meet the Energy Policy specialization requirements by completing the four courses specified above or the following five courses:

  • PLCY699Z Energy Policy
  • PLCY740 Public Policy and the Environment
  • PLCY741 Quantitative Aspects of Global Environmental Problems
  • PLCY745 Human Health and the Environment
  • One energy elective, such as:
    • PLCY798N Energy Economics
    • PLCY798O Energy Security
    • PLCY698L International Environmental Agreements
    • PLCY699B Intersections of Technology and Policy: Modernizing the Energy System (cross-listed as PHYS662)
    • Another course approved by the Specialization Head

Specialization Head

 For more information, contact Lucy Qiu at yqiu16@umd.edu

The International Development (IDEV) Policy specialization focuses on the economics, political, demographic, health and ethical dimensions of development. Our courses cover topics such as economic stagnation, poverty, unhappiness, food insecurity, political repression, ethnic/religious conflict, population displacement, and health. Students acquire the tools and skills required to identify development challenges and to measure accurately the effects of interventions on development outcomes.

Requirements

  • PLCY781 International Economic Policy
  • PLCY782 International Development Economics
  • PLCY698R Development Challenges OR PLCY699J Pathways to Development
Electives

One course from the following:

  • PLCY688X Human Dignity
  • PLCY798T Sustainable Development, Environmental Policy, and Human Rights in Peru
  • PLCY798I India: Education and Project Management with Delhi’s NGOs
  • PLCY783 Development and Foreign Aid
  • PLCY744 Environment and Development
  • PLCY720 International Security Policy
  • PLCY784 Disease, Disaster, and Development
  • PLCY689V Forecasting and Analyzing Political Violence
  • PLCY689J Food, Economics and Health
  • PLCY689I Indonesia: Social-Ecological Systems, Environmental Policy, and Sustainable Development in Indonesia
  • PLCY689E Program Evaluation and Cost-Benefit Analysis

Sample Plan of Study

Semester 1
  • PLCY688E Normative and Political Dimensions (3 credits)
  • PLCY641 Macroeconomics (3 credits)
  • PLCY640 Microeconomics (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 2
  • PLCY688G Leadership, Management and Accountability (3 credits)
  • PLCY610 Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
Semester 3
  • PLCY699X Capstone Project, Part 1 (3 credits)
  • PLCY670 Public Budgeting and Finance (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
Semester 4
  • PLCY790 Capstone Project, Part 2 (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)

Specialization Head

For more information, contact Susan Parker at swparker@umd.edu.

The ISEP specialization provides students with the knowledge and skills to work effectively on complex global policy challenges, such as reducing the risk of nuclear war, preventing proliferation and global pandemics, averting or ending civil conflicts, enhancing cybersecurity, promoting equitable global economic growth without causing catastrophic climate change, and addressing humanitarian crises around the world.

It is designed around four basic premises:

  • Security and economics are so closely connected that they need to be studied together. 
  • Globalization erodes national boundaries, requiring attention to interactions between domestic and international politics and policies on a growing range of issues.
  • Rapid technological advances with constructive and destructive potential are shaping the global policy environment. 
  • With more competition among major powers and domestic political dysfunction, challenges are outstripping policymakers’ ability to design and implement effective responses.

ISEP courses help students apply the general analytical skills taught in the core curriculum to the specific policy issues they care about most. They focus on enduring policy debates, foundational concepts, flexible analytical frameworks, and emerging trends so that graduates are prepared for the ever-changing challenges of a career as a global policy professional.

Requirements

  • PLCY720 International Security Policy
  • PLCY780 The American Foreign Policy-Making Process
  • PLCY781 International Economic Policy

At least on course from the following list of ISEP electives:

  • PLCY698C Intelligence and Policy
  • PLCY688C Cybersecurity
  • PLCY698V Homeland Security
  • PLCY699K Civil Conflict
  • PLCY700 US Trade: Policy and Politics
  • PLCY798M Arms Control and Nonproliferation Policy

The School of Public Policy offers other electives of interest to ISEP students, including in its international development, energy, and environmental policy specializations. These include:

  • PLCY688T Team-based Policy Lab: Engaging with Congress
  • PLCY689A Federal Acquisitions: Concepts and Management
  • PLCY798P Data Analysis for Policymakers
  • PLCY798T Sustainable Development, Environment, and Human Rights in Peru

Sample Plan of Study for students more interested in security policy

Semester 1:
  • PLCY610: Quantitative Analysis of Policy Issues
  • PLCY640: Microeconomic and Policy Analysis
  • PLCY688E: Governance: Normative & Political Dimensions (C. Worsnop section)
  • One required ISEP course: PLCY720: International Security Policy or PLCY780: Foreign Policy Process
Semester 2
  • PLCY641: Macroeconomics and Policy Analysis
  • Another core course: PLCY688G: Leadership, Management, and Accountability or PLCY670: Public Finance and Budgeting
  • One required ISEP course: PLCY720: International Security Policy or PLCY780: Foreign Policy Process  
  • One ISEP-relevant elective 
Semester 3
  • Last core course or PLCY781: International Economic Policy
  • PLCY699X Capstone Project, Part 1 (3 credits)
  • ISEP elective
  • Another elective
Semester 4
  • Last core course or PLCY781: International Economic Policy
  • PLCY790: Capstone Project, Part 2
  • ISEP elective
  • Another elective

Sample plan of study for students more interested in economic policy 

Semester 1
  • PLCY610: Quantitative Analysis of Policy Issues
  • PLCY688E: Governance: Normative & Political Dimensions (C. Worsnop section)
  • PLCY641: Macroeconomics and Policy Analysis
  • PLCY780: Foreign Policy Process
Semester 2
  • PLCY640: Microeconomic and Policy Analysis 
  • Another core course: PLCY688G: Leadership, Management, and Accountability or PLCY670: Public Finance and Budgeting
  • PLCY781: International Economic Policy
  • Last core course or PLCY720: International Security Policy or ISEP elective
Semester 3
  • Last core course or PLCY720: International Security Policy
  • PLCY699W: Selected Topics Public Policy; Capstone Project, Part 1
  • ISEP elective
  • Another elective
Semester 4
  • Last core course or PLCY720: International Security Policy
  • PLCY790: Capstone Project, Part 2
  • ISEP elective
  • Another elective

Download the Sample Plans of Study (.docx)

Faculty

The School of Public Policy has numerous faculty with research expertise and practical experience working on international security and economic policy issues.

View international policy faculty

Specialization Head

For more information, contact Nancy Gallagher at ngallag@umd.edu.

Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)

ISEP students have opportunities to work with CISSM faculty and scholars on innovative research that informs policy debates. Current CISSM projects examine nuclear energy and nonproliferation in East Asia, U.S.-Russia security relations, public opinion in Iran, cybersecurity risk assessment, the organizational dynamics of insurgent groups, global responses to infectious disease, human security implications of climate change, and many other topics. CISSM enriches the School of Public Policy community by organizing a bi-weekly speaker series, a week-long policy exercise with students and faculty from Russia, and multiple special events each year.

Career Development

By combining core and specialization coursework with a capstone project done for a client in the Washington, D.C., policy community, SPP students graduate with the skills, substantive knowledge, practical experience, and professional connections to take on a range of career opportunities domestically and worldwide.

Sample ISEP Alumni Employment:

  • Deputy Secretary of Defense
  • President, Nuclear Threat Initiative
  • Director, East Asia Nonproliferation Program, Middlebury Institute of International Studies
  • Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Intelligence and Research Senior Policy
  • Researcher, RAND Director for China, National Security Council Foreign Service
  • Officer, U.S. Department of State
  • Senior Intelligence Advisor, Department of Defense
  • Director, Nuclear Security Program, Stimson Center
  • Senior Social Impact Analyst, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation
  • Senior Advisor, National Preparedness Directorate, FEMA
  • Chief Content Officer, Quillo
  • Foreign Policy Legislative Aide, U.S. Senate
  • Director of Sanctions Regulatory Compliance, Citi
  • Analyst, Financial Markets and Community Investment, U.S. Government Accountability Office
  • Policy Advisor, U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
  • Director, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Systems Office, Department of Defense
  • Trade and Industry Analyst, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Foreign Commercial Officer, U.S. Commercial Service, International Trade Administration
  • Foreign Affairs Officer, U.S. Department of State Assistant
  • Professor, LBJ School, University of Texas Data Analytics
  • Program Analyst, FEMA Program Officer, Stanley Center for Peace and Security
  • Policy Analyst, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Program Coordinator, National Nuclear Security Administration
  • Financial Sector Specialist, The World Bank
  • Program Analyst, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Analyst, The Cadmus Group
  • Program Analyst, USAID Asia & Pacific
  • Program Coordinator, International Programs, U.S. Forest Service
  • Flight Commander, U.S. Air Force
  • Director of Research, Africa Center for Strategic Studies, National Defense University
  • Supervisory Intelligence Analyst, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Based on a long tradition of an outstanding faculty of scholars and practitioners, we offer a specialization in leadership and management in cross-sector engagement and partnership. The Leadership and Management specialization prepares future leaders and the individuals who will assume major management responsibilities at the local, state and/or federal level. Leadership and management are needed now more than ever. The public demand for excellence in the management of public resources has never been stronger. Virtually every level of government faces unprecedented pressure for improved accountability while striving to provide high levels of service at low cost. This growing challenge requires a keen understanding of complex financial mechanisms, management and leadership theories and practices, and the ability of government to work with the private and nonprofit sectors.

Requirements

  • PLCY698T Networks: Leading and Managing Across Sectors
  • PLCY689X Performance Management: Leading for Results
Electives

Two courses from the following:

  • PLCY798Y Nonprofit Management and Leadership
  • PLCY689A Federal Acquisitions: Concepts and Management
  • PLCY717 Federal Budget
  • PLCY688F State, Local and Nonprofit Financial Management

Sample Plan of Study

Semester 1
  • PLCY688E Normative and Political Dimensions (3 credits)
  • PLCY688G Leadership, Management and Accountability (3 credits)
  • PLCY670 Public Budgeting and Finance (3 credits)
  • PLCY640 Microeconomics (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 2
  • PLCY610 Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy (3 credits)
  • PLCY640 Microeconomics (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
Semester 3
  • PLCY699X Capstone Project, Part 1 (3 credits)
  • PLCY641 Macroeconomics (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
Semester 4
  • PLCY790 Capstone Project, Part 2 (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)

Requirements prior to Fall 2019

Students admitted before Fall 2019 may meet the Management and Leadership specialization requirements by completing:

  • PLCY698T Networks: Leading and Managing Across Sectors 
  • PLCY689X Performance Management: Leading for Results
  • One elective public management and leadership course from the following:
    • PLCY752 Managing Differences
    • PLCY798Y Nonprofit Management and Leadership
    • PLCY699G Leadership in Groups & Organizations
    • PLCY689Z Strategic Management for Nonprofit and Public Organizations
    • Any "Leadership" course in the following specializations: Management & Leadership, Nonprofit Management, Public Sector Financial Management, and Federal Acquisitions.
  • One public finance or acquisitions course

Specialization Head

For more information, contact Elizabeth Duke at eduke1@umd.edu.

Nonprofit organizations, philanthropy, and social entrepreneurs are major players in how public policy gets developed and implemented as well as how change occurs in our society. In the United States, the nonprofit sector encompasses more than a million organizations, annually reports trillions of dollars in revenue and assets, represents approximately 10 percent of the workforce, annually generates more than 400 billion dollars through donations and volunteers, and is primarily funded by government resources.

Today’s policy challenges require that tomorrow’s leaders be well versed in innovative, collaborative cross-sector solutions. Expertise in the area of nonprofit management and philanthropy is critical to School of Public Policy graduate students in a variety of policy specializations. 

MPP students of all professional interests will find a number of interesting career opportunities in the nonprofit sector; ranging from social or environmental policy, to international development. Since policy students will likely become nonprofit leaders in a particular policy field, the specialization in Nonprofit Management and Leadership (NML) will require at least four courses, and the focus will require at least three courses. This three-course package will allow MPP students to potentially specialize in a policy field and still achieve a NML credential.

Requirements

  • PLCY798Y Nonprofit Management and Leadership
  • PLCY688F State, Local and Nonprofit Financial Management
Electives

Two courses from the following:

  • PLCY689Z Strategic Management for Nonprofit and Public Organizations
  • PLCY689P Strategic Philanthropy
  • PLCY689Y Nonprofit Fundraising
  • PLCY688O China’s Dynamic Philanthropic and Social Sector: Policy Management and Perspectives
  • PLCY689D Social Entrepreneurship
  • PLCY798I India: Education and Project Engagement with Delhi’s NGOs

Sample Plan of Study

Semester 1
  • PLCY688E Normative and Political Dimensions (3 credits)
  • PLCY610 Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy (3 credits)
  • PLCY640 Microeconomics (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 2
  • PLCY688G Leadership, Management and Accountability (3 credits)
  • PLCY670 Public Budgeting and Finance (3 credits)
  • PLCY641 Macroeconomics (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 3
  • PLCY699X Capstone Project, Part 1 (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
Semester 4
  • PLCY790 Capstone Project, Part 2 (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)

Specialization Head

For more information, contact Angela Bies at bies@umd.edu

Public financial management is an area in which SPP has traditionally excelled with nationally recognized faculty and significant publication, as well as outstanding teaching and internship mentoring. The Public Financial Management specialization prepares future leaders and the individuals who will assume major management responsibilities at the local, state and/or federal level. The public demand for excellence in the management of public resources has never been stronger. Virtually every level of government faces unprecedented pressure for improved accountability while striving to provide high levels of service at low cost. This growing challenge requires a keen understanding of complex financial mechanisms, management and leadership theories and practices, and the ability of government to work with the private and nonprofit sectors. 

Requirements

  • PLCY717 Federal Budget
  • PLCY688F State, Local and Nonprofit Financial Management
Electives

Two courses from the following:

  • PLCY698T Networks: Leading and Managing Across Sectors
  • PLCY689X Performance Management - Leading for Results
  • PLCY798Y Nonprofit Management and Leadership
  • PLCY689A Federal Acquisitions: Concepts and Management

Sample Plan of Study

Semester 1
  • PLCY688E Normative and Political Dimensions (3 credits)
  • PLCY610 Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy (3 credits)
  • PLCY640 Microeconomics (3 credits)
  • PLCY670 Public Budgeting and Finance (3 credits)
Semester 2
  • PLCY688G Leadership, Management and Accountability (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
Semester 3
  • PLCY699X Capstone Project, Part 1 (3 credits)
  • PLCY641 Macroeconomics (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 4
  • PLCY790 Capstone Project, Part 2 (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)

Specialization Head

For more information, contact Philip Joyce at pgjoyce@umd.edu.

The Social Policy specialization acquaints students with the relevant history and institutions of social policy, develops their quantitative skills for program evaluation and the analysis of large data sets, and helps them grapple with the moral issues raised by inequality. Our required courses (Quantitative Analysis of Policy Issues, Foundations of Social Policy, and Program Evaluation) anchor flexible master's degree programs for pre-career and mid-career students who may select courses in health, education, poverty, criminal justice, housing and social services management, among others. A resident faculty with nationally-renowned expertise in various fields is complemented by a broader menu of relevant course offerings across other units of the College Park campus.

See all Social Policy faculty

Requirements

  • PLCY689E Program Evaluation and Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • PLCY734 Foundations of Social Policy
  • PLCY611 Quantitative Analysis of Policy Issues
Electives

One course from the following (or similar social policy-related course approved by specialization head):

  • PLCY688V After the Wire: Restoring Baltimore and other Chronically Depressed Cities
  • TLPL788 Contested Control: School Choice, Localism, and Centralization
  • TLPL670 Economics of Education (formerly EDPS615)
  • TLPL671 Education Policy Analysis
  • PLCY699D Examining Social Identity and Pluralism in Public Policy
  • PLCY735 Health Policy
  • PLCY688X Human Dignity
  • TLPL672 Impact Evaluation for Education and Public Policy
  • TLPL767 Law, Equity and Diversity in Education
  • TLPL788F Policy and Politics of Education Reform (formerly PLCY732)
  • TLPL687 Politics of Education
  • PLCY698A Poverty Measurement and Alleviation
  • URSP664 Real-estate Development for Planners
  • PLCY737 Strategies of Equality
  • URSP688O U.S. Housing Policy and Planning

NOTE: PLCY689E Program Evaluation and Cost-Benefit Analysis must be taken in your first spring semester.

Sample Plan of Study

Semester 1
  • PLCY688E Normative and Political Dimensions (3 credits)
  • PLCY688G Leadership, Management and Accountability (3 credits)
  • PLCY610 Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy (3 credits)
  • PLCY640 Microeconomics (3 credits)
Semester 2
  • Specialization Requirement: PLCY734 Foundations of Social Policy (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement: PLCY611 Quantitative Analysis (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement: PLCY689E Program Evaluation and Cost-Benefit Analysis (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
Semester 3
  • PLCY699X Capstone Project, Part 1 (3 credits)
  • PLCY 641 Macroeconomics (3 credits)
  • PLCY670 Public Budgeting and Finance (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 4
  • PLCY790 Capstone Project, Part 2 (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)

Specialization Head

For more information, contact Katrina Walsemann at kwalsema@umd.edu.

The Health Policy specialization acquaints students with the relevant history and institutions of health policy, develops their quantitative skills for program evaluation and the analysis of large data sets, and helps them grapple with the moral issues raised by inequality. Our required courses anchor flexible master's degree programs for pre-career and mid-career students who seek to specialize in health policy. A resident faculty with nationally-renowned expertise in various fields is complemented by a broader menu of relevant course offerings across other units of the College Park campus.

Requirements

  • PLCY689E Program Evaluation and Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • PLCY611 Quantitative Analysis of Policy Issues
  • PLCY734 Foundations of Social Policy
  • PLCY735 Health Policy
Electives
  • One health-related course approved by specialization head

NOTE: PLCY689E Program Evaluation and Cost-Benefit Analysis must be taken in your first spring semester.

Sample Plan of Study

Semester 1
  • PLCY688E Normative and Political Dimensions (3 credits)
  • PLCY688G Leadership, Management and Accountability (3 credits)
  • PLCY610 Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy (3 credits)
  • PLCY640 Microeconomics (3 credits)
Semester 2
  • Specialization Requirement: PLCY734 Foundations of Social Policy (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement: PLCY611 Quantitative Analysis (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement: PLCY689E Program Evaluation and Cost-Benefit Analysis (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
Semester 3
  • PLCY699X Capstone Project, Part 1 (3 credits)
  • PLCY641 Macroeconomics (3 credits)
  • PLCY670 Public Budgeting and Finance (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
Semester 4
  • PLCY790 Capstone Project, Part 2 (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)

Specialization Head

For more information, contact Katrina Walsemann at kwalsema@umd.edu.

The Education Policy specialization acquaints students with the history and institutions of education policy, develops their program evaluation and statistical analysis skills, and enables them to address the key educational policy issues of the day, including those raised by inequality and social injustice. The specialization draws heavily on the education policy courses offered by the University of Maryland’s prestigious College of Education.

Requirements

  • PLCY732 Education Policy and Reform
  • TLPL670 Economics of Education (formerly EDPS615)
  • PLCY611 Quantitative Analysis of Policy Issues (best taken right after PLCY610)
  • PLCY689E Program Evaluation and Cost-Benefit Analysis (best taken in first year)
  • PLCY734 Foundations of Social Policy (best taken in the first year)

Outside of the specialization requirements, you might be interested in the following general electives:

  • TLPL672 Impact Evaluation for Education and Public Policy
  • TLPL673 Federal Education Policy
  • TLPL687 Politics of Education          
  • TLPL765 Quantitative Applications for Education Policy Analysis
  • TLPL767 Law, Equity and Diversity in Education
  • TLPL770 Black and Latino Education: History and Policy
  • TLPL774 Urban Education
  • TLPL788D Using Stata to Clean and Analyze Big Data in Education
  • TLPL788K Best School Systems in the World
  • TLPL788O Immigration and Education
  • TLPL788U Race, Whiteness, and Identity
  • PLCY699Q Anti-Racist Community Development

Sample Plan of Study

Semester 1
  • PLCY688E Normative and Political Dimensions (3 credits)
  • PLCY610 Quantitative Aspects of Public Policy (3 credits)
  • PLCY640 Microeconomics (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
Semester 2
  • Specialization Requirement: PLCY734 Foundations of Social Policy (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement: PLCY611 Quantitative Analysis (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement: PLCY689E Program Evaluation and Cost-Benefit Analysis (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
Semester 3
  • PLCY699X Capstone Project, Part 1 (3 credits)
  • PLCY641 Macroeconomics (3 credits)
  • PLCY670 Public Budgeting and Finance (3 credits)
  • PLCY688G Leadership, Management and Accountability (3 credits)
Semester 4
  • PLCY790 Capstone Project, Part 2 (3 credits)
  • Specialization Requirement (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (3 credits)

Specialization Head

For more information, contact Katrina Walsemann at kwalsema@umd.edu.


Dual and Self-Designed Specializations

For MPP students, attempting dual specializations is a complex topic. With 11 specializations, we have 55 possible pairings for dual specializations. Considering several combinations is a challenging task. To reduce potential complexity, students should answer the ‘why’ of a specialization prior to the ‘how’. This can help the student to focus on the value of the program instead of novelty. Among our master's programs, only the MPP program has room for dual specializations.

Students should restrict themselves to completing not more than 48 credits or 4 traditional semesters if full-time. This becomes more important because the 55 pairings don’t articulate what is feasible within a traditional program, only what is possible without considering an actual schedule with course times and conflicts.

Students may pursue more than one specialization by meeting the requirements of both specializations, double-counting no more than one course towards each specialization. 

Given scheduling variations, dual specializations are most available when combining ISEP and IDEV or for combinations within the MFL area (i.e., Leadership and Management, Public Financial Management, Acquisitions, and Non-Profit Management).

Some specializations should not be paired. For example, Energy Policy cannot be finished with either Health Policy or Education policy within the traditional 48 credit program. 

Recommended approach

A student’s most flexible option for exploring multiple areas is to use general electives for the secondary specialization area. All graduate-level courses within the School are eligible for general electives. Most specializations have room for 3 general elective courses, so students have the opportunity to take several classes in an area outside of their primary specialization.

Students who wish to complete two specializations should make a course plan when they enter the School. The course plan should also include an alternate plan with a single specialization as a back-up plan. Doing this early alleviates disappointment and reminds students of the specialization that they value most.

Requirements

Self-designed specializations must:

  • Have a clearly defined focus on a public policy and/or management subject
  • Consist of a coherent set of courses that are feasible to complete within the program timeline
  • Be conducted under the supervision of a School faculty member with expertise in the subject
  • Have a proposed specialization plan approved by the School

Self-designed specializations do not have to be proposed and approved prior to applying to, or commencing, the program. It is recommended that students wishing to develop a self-designed specialization begin the process in their first or second semester. 

Developing a Plan

Self-designed specializations need to be clearly defined. Students must have their proposed specialzation plan approved by the School of Public Policy. An approval’s likelihood is enhanced when the plan follows the process outlined below, but approvals are on a case-by-case basis.

Process:

  1. Contact the graduate academic advisor to discuss your ideas for a self-designed specialization
  2. Write an initial synopsis with expected outcomes (e.g., a specific policy career path you wish to pursue) as an overview
  3. Develop a specialization title
  4. List potential faculty members you would like to advise your process
  5. Detail how your proposal improves upon the School's pre-designed specializations to meet your goals
  6. Explain the quantitative and qualitative methods this specialization requires
  7. Explain additional skills this specialization requires
  8. Create a study plan for your specialization with a proposed list of classes by semester
  9. Describe how your specialization prepares you for your professional goals